Valentine’s Day at Lush- Video!

Hello kittens!

Apologies for the silence following my 2015 planning post. I’ve been very ill with the flu, and it’s taken me a while to recover and get myself going. As promised, I’ve made a video! I’ll still be writing here, but one of my goals for this year was to give YouTube another go.

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This time, I’m looking at all of the great products Lush have given us for Valentine’s Day- two bath bombs, three bubble bars, a soap, a shower gel and two lip products. Look out for DeeDee chiming in part way through!

As per the video, I am living for the Unicorn Horn. I’m a huge unicorn fan in all walks of life, so the name and imagery is right up my street. What wins it for me, however, is the cosmic, magic potion-y herbal fragrance- it’s very relaxing for body and mind.

The Kiss lipgloss is a super addition to my lip care products. I’m not much of a gloss girl, but this one I can get behind- it’s smooth and subtle, not sticky or tacky. It looks really pretty over colour, or on nude lips, and is really kind to your skin.

Prince Charming, Prince Charming, ridicule is nothing to be scared of… not that I would EVER ridicule this guy. I LOVE this fragrance, LOVE the effect the combination of softening, soothing vanilla and enzymic fruit notes have on my skin, and love the sweet-tart fragrance on my skin. Yum!

All of the products in the video are being discontinued on saturday in the UK- Valentine’s Day itself. Therefore, if you love any of these, or want to try them, stock up as soon as you can!

That’s all for today- I’m going to go and rest up so I can bring you more content soon.

Later days!

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Lime Crime Velvetines review

Hello Kittens!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen me rocking several shades of delicious Lime Crime lip colours. I wanted to talk to you a little about them and my experiences with them.

Lime Crime launched in 2008, and is a cruelty free cosmetics company. Many, if not most, of their products are also vegan. They are headed up by kooky brand owner Doe Deere, who is a self-proclaimed ‘Unicorn Queen’, day-dreamer and colour fanatic. The brand hosts a range of vibrant nail, eye and lip colours so your makeup can be as expressive as you are. Based in Los Angeles, their products are available in the UK via select online boutiques, and shipping from the US is also available.

Velvetines are one of the Lime Crime’s most iconic and famous products. They are a lip colour product with famed staying power, high pigment and high ethics. The formula applies wet and sets matte, leaving your with velvety, rose petal lips. The Velvetine product launched with two colour options only: Red Velvet (a deep, rose petal red) and Suedeberry (a brighter, paler, almost corally red-pink). Since then the line has swelled with the addition of Pink Velvet (a deep pink), The Clueless Witch Collection (Black Velvet (black), Salem (brown) and Wicked (oxblood)) and most recently Utopia (a bold orchid). A new shade, Pansy (violet) has been announced in the past couple of weeks, with another greige shade, Cashmere revealed last week. No release date has, as of yet, been confirmed.

Though I came across the brand some time ago, and lusted after their products, I finally picked up some Velvetines for my brother’s wedding. I needed a red lip colour that would last all day, despite champagne toasts and wedding breakfasts. I decided to try the classic red shades Red Velvet and Suedeberry. I have since added Utopia to my collection because I am LIVING for purple this autumn.

Suedeberry

Described as a 1950’s Hollywood light red, I thought this was going to be the colour I wore for my brother’s big day. I was wrong. The Lime Crime website has since changed their description of Suedeberry to Coral Red, which is much more accurate. This bright, light colour is almost more on the pink and coral spectrum than red. That being said, it’s really very pretty.

However, in terms of staying power I don’t think it lasts as long as I expected from a Velvetine. It lasts about as long as a lip stain- so, if you eat or drink, you will lose part or all of the colour. The weird thing about Velvetines is that when they dry, they are touch proof, but as soon as they get wet they sometimes flake away. Suedeberry seems to do that quite a lot. The colour pay off also is not as strong as I expected. It’s about 90% opaque, so if my lips are naturally looking particularly pink, their colour will show through, particularly if I paint my lips a little bigger. I wonder if I got part of a dud batch.

This is still a great product that I love and use regularly. It just wasn’t quite the colour I was expecting, nor was in this life changing product, either.

 

Red Velvet

Red Velvet was a colour I had always wanted to try. I worried if it would suit me or not, and I was fairly sure it wasn’t the colour I needed for my wedding outfit. However, it turned out to be perfect. Yes, it was deeper in colour that my dress and hat, but I loved it.

The formula is completely opaque. Like Suedeberry, it sets touch proof, and like Suedeberry it can lifted by liquid, but it seems to have a much better formula than Suedeberry. I touched up my lips twice at the wedding- once after the breakfast, when a tiny bit of the colour in the inside of my lips had flaked away, and once later in the night, when I’d had several glasses more wine, and the same thing had happened. The lip colour lasted 16+ hours with two minor touch ups, whilst I ate, drank and made merry. This stuff is the real deal, and does exactly what the product promises. I was very impressed.

The shade of Red Velvet is incredibly bold, and I get a lot of compliments on it. However, it’s also so bold that I sometimes feel self conscious wearing it. Also, if it smudges for any reason, and you haven’t got make up remover with you, you are in trouble.

 

Utopia

Utopia is a stunning bright orchid- the colour of the year this year, and one of my favourite lip shades. Some sites are describing this shade as magenta, and whilst is can come out quite pinky compared with some orchid products, it’s definitely purple, not pink.

Morning 💋💕 #boldlip #limecrime #bombshell #benebabe #professionalpaleperson

A post shared by Natasha (@shewhobakes) on

I’m kind of in love with this colour. It’s got a great colour pay off, and great longevity. The formula is very similar to Red Velvet, rather than the slightly weaker formula of Suedeberry. I wore it recently to a friend’s hen do, and also to work, and in both cases it lasted really well all day, with maybe one or two small touch ups. Because I have a cooler skin tone, if this shade flakes a little on me after drinking, it’s not as obvious as with Red Velvet or Suedeberry.

 

All in all, I’m a total convert to Velvetines. They are the lip product I need, and have pretty much spoiled me for all others. Nothing compares to their matte perfection, wild colour payoff, daring shades and amazing longevity. I’m already planning to pick up Black Velvet soon, and I’ll be all over Pansy when it comes out.

The pictures in this post are from my Instagram. If you want to keep up to the minute with all things SWB, why not follow me there?

Later days, sweethearts!

sigdraft

Special Delivery! Birchbox September 2014

Hello kittens!

Time to catch up on Birchboxes of the recent past! The September box followed the theme of Happy Days, with a bright turquoise box to shake things up this time. The box is designed to be turned into a, for lack of a better phrase, Happy Box. I’ve encountered similar ideas in therapy before- putting together self-soothing kit consisting of a box of items to lift the mood via the five senses. It’s why I tend to have something crafty (touch), some perfume (smell), some chocolate (taste), a book (sight) and ready made playlists on my iPad (hearing) by my bed. I think using this box to do that for yourself, whether you have clinically diagnosed anxiety or not, is and excellent thing to do. And it’s also a great excuse to have chocolate by your bed.

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The box this month felt really jam packed with stuff- the reusable drawstring bag inside was completely packed with goodies. I’m going to start with the extras first.

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This photo clip screams nineties/early noughties tat to me. Blergh. However, the idea of having a photo of something you care about nearby to boost your mood fits into the theme well. It’s not always possible to have a pin board or even room for a photo frame by your desk at work, but you probably have room for this. I think this is nice item for Birchboxers who are parents to give to their children instead, as the photo clip  would be a fun way for them to display their pictures in their rooms.

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This is probably going to find its way into a recipe, and then into my mouth, rather than the other way around. I do like dried fruit, I’m just a sissy about committing and eating it, or pretty much anything that strays beyond my bubble of food safety sometimes. It’s a full sized snack pack though- if you like dried fruit, this would be a good item for your happy box!

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Yaaaaaaaaaas! I’ve been wanting to try a beauty blender for an age, yet haven’t got round to picking one up. Theoretically it should fit in with my beauty regime well, and maybe tempt me back into the world of liquid foundation. I know that basically its just an egg shaped sponge, but let a girl dream, won’tcha? I think most people would be very happy to see this much hyped item, complete with solid cleanser, in their box, so I guess that fits into the theme. I also love the no-holds-barred pinkness of this product. Eee!

This *seems* to be a full sized product. The cleanser is just a puck of the solid cleansing product, rather than it being in its own pot, but otherwise it seems to be identical to the full product

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Birchbox asked their subbies in late August which product they wanted in their boxes. They had a couple of different options, and I chose Modelco Lip Laquer in ‘Viva’, a pretty corally pink. I really like this idea, and I hope that Birchbox do it again. It’s great that subscription boxes are generally a surprise, but it was nice to feel like the curator of your box for a while, and helps avoid inappropriate shades being sent to people.

As it was, my box came a little, er, half-baked. The Lip Laquer had been omitted, as had all the usual paperwork inside the box, and I had a mascara instead. A quick phone call to Birchbox (I must emphasise how friendly their staff are, how quick they are to fix problems, and how swiftly they answer the phone!) and this was rectified. I can’t complain, as I got an extra product out of their goof, so happy days!

I am not great when it comes to lipgloss. I have a dainty little mouth, and I feel gloss often makes it look smaller, rather than juicier. Also, I wore it a lot in my teens, and it feels a bit young for me now (she says, aged a whopping 27). Still, this gloss is a very pretty colour with good colour payoff. It’s very sticky, which can be a problem if you want to build it, but it’s nice enough, and it lasts pretty well, by gloss standards. It also now reminds me of my holiday, which makes me happy. I’d definitely use it again.

As for the mascara, I have SO many mascaras, it’s kind of insane. Particularly as I only really use one or two regularly. I really need to ‘shop my stash’… maybe I will do that in another post. I will try this one… but it goes to the end of the queue.

Another thing- Birchbox are throwing around a lot of Modelco products of late. Not a criticism, merely an observation.

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Agave Healing Oil is a hair treatment oil. These are all the rage at the moment, but I have been using hair oils for a few years now. They are excellent products to use between washes, or at the end of styling for shine and to repair damage and nourish the hair. Agave looks to have come excellent ingredients. Baobab seed oil is a super food for the hair, like Argan on steroids. It also contains Agave sugars and leaf extract, hence the name I imagine. Agave nectar is considered a superfood for the body- I’m worried this might be sticky on the hair, but likely not. There’s a bunch of other ingredients, but notably coconut to moisturise and vanilla, which is very gentle and conditioning for skin and hair. You’ll probably also smell great when using this product. I’ll definitely give it a go, and after all, a great hair day is a happy day!

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Serums are one of those products that a lot of people don’t know what to do with, and ask me about. Is it a moisturiser? Do I only use it at night? In what order do I use it and my other products?

For those who don’t know, serum is an intensive, concentrated treatment for the skin. It should be used at least once daily, usually at night, before moisturising. It *is* a moisturising product, but it tends to be a much richer, often oilier formula, designed to give a powerful dose of nutrients to the skin, as well as drenching it in good oils.

This serum is designed for day use instead. You would use this, again, before your moisturiser, after toning the skin. With vitamin C to help treat discolouration (sun spots, age spots etc) and repair cells and collagen to plump out fine lines, this serum is designed to help with signs of ageing from sun exposure, and generally give your face some love so you can get back to enjoying your day. I’ll definitely give this one a go.

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One thing that causes me stress about my face, more than anything else, is my dark circles. I’m never going to get rid of them completely, but I can at least try and show my eyes some love. This is what this Benefit product is all about. It’s Potent is a brightening eye cream designed  to combat dark circles. It’s nice and light and milky- you don’t want to out any heavy creams near your eyes, as the fats will build up in the thin skin there and make your eyes appear more puffy. I actually already own this product, though I’ve misplaced it currently, so I’m very glad of a travel sized spare. It contains a variety of skin firming ingredients, and loquat extract, which fights free-radicals to prevent and heal signs of ageing.

All in all, this box made me very happy. The products are all very nourishing, feel good products, with a few frivolities thrown in too. But how does the value of the box stack up?

  • Birchbox Photoclip: £0.99? It’s very hard to put a price on it.
  • Urband Fruit Magnificent Mango Snack: £1
  • beautyblender and solid blendercleanser :£26
  • Modelco Lip Laquer in ‘Viva’: Full size £15, but volume on both full size and sample is undisclosed. I estimate it’s about 1/3 the size, so £5
  • Agave Healing Oil: £16 for 60ml, so 4ml sample is worth £1.06
  • Skin & Co Sicilian Light Serum: £29 for 30ml, so 5ml sample is worth £4.83
  • Benefit It’s Potent! Eye Cream: £25.50 for 14.2g, so 3g sample is worth £5.39

Total: £44.27

That total is insane, but I may have been a little generous on the beauty blender. However, that is how much the equivalent product cost. It bears mentioning my erroneous extra, too.

Modelco Power Lash Black Mascara: £24 for 10g, so 5g sample is worth £12

Grand Total: £56.27

This is the most value I’ve ever gotten out of a Birchbox, even if I may have been generous on the beautyblender. I knew this box felt jam packed. Birchboxes usually come in around £25-£30 value mark, so double your money (including p&p), but this one is more than twice that. So thank you, Birchbox. You’ve made my day very happy indeed!

If you’d like to try Birchbox, click here to subscribe!

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A Lush Evening: Lush Southampton Bloggers Event

Last friday, I was lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive bloggers event at the Southampton branch of Lush. If you’ve spent even half a minute on SWB, you’ll know I’m a pretty big Lush fan- any product that does its job is good by me, but when that’s combined with great ethics, fair trade ingredients and handmade, hands on goodness, the experience and enjoyment is multiplied.

Upon arrival I was served a glass of champagne (posh soft drinks were available) and offered nibbles in the form of vegan cupcakes, popcorn and fresh strawberries. Yum, right? I got talking to the other ladies (all the other invitees were female, which I can understand, but seriously lads, get in there! Lush isn’t just for girls!), and was happy to see Alice and Catherine again; I’d met them briefly at a previous Lush event (the Spring preview). One thing I noticed was that the event was well staffed. There were sixteen attendees, and four members of staff on, which meant if we had any queries or questions they were on hand almost instantly. I felt very spoilt, and that really continued throughout the evening.

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Photo courtesy of Jessica at Chique Unique Critique

For the first part of the evening, we engaged in a team building exercise. We were paired up randomly with another blogger (I got the adorable Katie– hey girl!) and were allowed to pick a random massage bar. We performed, let’s face it, a rather amateur arm massage on each other, and got chatting about ourselves- what we blogged about, how familiar we were Lush etcetera. It’s pretty hard to stay shy when you’re massaging someones hand. We went round the room introducing each other; some of us were beauty bloggers, some fashion, most lifestyle. I consider myself to be a food blogger, then a beauty blogger, then everything else, and said as such, but what do you guys think?

The first thing we got to do was experience fresh face masks being made. Pete and Milli, both sales assistants, explained to us the ingredients of both masks (the Catastrophe Cosmetic, and Cupcake). They passed round the essential oils and perfume absolutes that go into each product, and showed us the different dry powders and fresh fruits included in each. Using a premixed dry formula of those dry ingredients, and a premixed wet formula of the fresh fruit, melted butters, oils and absolutes, they hand mixed the masks for us, and prepared us a pot of each to take to home to try. It bears mentioning that these pots were larger than the retail sizes for the same product, which was just super. Friends of mind- expect a face mask party some time in the next few weeks as, alas, they do have a limited shelf life of 3-4 weeks due to all those fresh ingredients.

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After enjoying the mask demonstration, and having a wee nosey round the shop and a champers refill, my half of the group moved on to Emotional Brilliance. The general feeling about this section of the shop seemed to be we’d mostly seen it, but walked past it. I’ve tried E.B. before, but a long time ago, but this is the basic idea: you spin the colour wheel and close your eyes, clearing your mind. When the wheel stops you open your eyes and quickly pick the first three colours that leap out at you. Those three colours represent emotions or states of mind, and correspond with make up products- lip colours and cream eyeshadows and liners.

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The wheel was filled with atmospheric dry ice (you can see a video here, courtesy of Mandy at One Slice of Lemon), so it spewed Potter-eque smoke as the lovely Cristine spun the wheel. My reading was Charm, Believe and In charge. Charm (and of COURSE I’m charming!) is a lovely baby pink lip and cheek colour, which I already own and use for blush. It blends well with my skin tone and natural red to give a perfect english rosy blush with just a dab of product, or a bold pink flush with a dab more. I think she’s a little too pale for my lips, unless I’m wearing super bold eye makeup to balance out my face. Believe wants to be coral. She’s crushed raspberry pink, but she’s certainly dreaming of creamsicle orange. I would love to wear this colour on my lips. In terms of the feeling, well, I need to believe in myself more, and have more confidence, and have faith that everything will work out, so maybe that’s why she’s in there. In Charge is what I need to be, and what I like to be! In Charge is a true blue eyeliner. It’s certainly one I’d try, and it’s a lovely colour, but I’m not sold just yet.

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The final treat of the evening was a slice of a huge Creamy Candy cake- each slice being approximately 1-2 bubble bars worth of product to my untrained eye. Though it’s slightly different, if you liked Snow Fairy (a Lush Christmas exclusive), you’ll love Creamy Candy. This was added to a personalised goody bag full of full sized products for us to take home and try, in addition to those face masks, and a gift for our followers. Yes kittens, that giveaway I mentioned not so long ago is coming soon, and will feature Lush goodies!

In my goody bag I received three items. First, a Tiny Hands solid hand cream, which I surely need as I do get very dry skin on my hands, particularly when I’m doing a lot of cleaning, or cooking, and in the winter time. Secondly, a Bubblegum Lip Scrub. I love wearing bright lip colours, so a lip scrub is perfect for me- exfoliated, smooth lips will hold their colour better and longer. It’s also baby pink (very me!) and smells and tastes yummy, like sugar and pear drops and candy floss. Finally, African Paradise, a body conditioner. This product you use as you would a hair conditioner for your hair. Use it last in the shower or bath all over your body, then rinse it off and pat dry. I literally gasped when I pulled this product out of my goody bag, as I have been dying to try this. I have really dry skin, so any opportunity to get some moisture in is gratefully received. Plus, this smells so tasty and light and exotic and feminine. It’s also huge- 225g of skin-loving goodness. As I said, all these products were full sized, plus the Creamy Candy cake slice (about 1-2 bars worth!), PLUS the two giant pots of face mask… I feel very lucky indeed!

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As soon as I’m done with this post, I’m hopping in a Creamy Candy Bath with a Catastrophe Cosmetic Mask, finished off with African Paradise. And I will feel like a GODDESS; utterly spoilt by Lush’s generosity. It was an absolutely lovely evening, which left me feeling pampered and confident, thrilled to have met so many lovely like-minded folks, and head-over-heels for the, well, lush cosmetic products Lush have to offer. I can’t wait to attend a similar event again. Thanks have to go to the great team at Lush Southampton for their time, expertise and great attitude in teaching us all about what they have to offer, and spoiling us absolutely rotten.

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Photo courtesy of Jessica at Chique Unique Critique

If you’d like at attend a similar event, keep your eyes peeled for Lush preview nights, or why not book a party? Contact your local Lush store for more details.

Later days, lovely people.

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Special Delivery! July Birchbox

Because I am a terrible person with a vivid imagination, I imagined I had a) taken all the photos for this blog entry and b) had already written and posted up said review. Alas, neither was the case. However, this wrong is about to be righted, with the help of my iPad (so excuse the photo quality) and my limited maths skills. July’s Birchbox theme was Sun, Sea and Sand, with products to make you feel light and bright for summer.

First up was the Laqa & Co Lip Lube. And with a name like that, I was expecting something fun at least.

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I love Laqa & Co. I first came across them about a year ago, with their nail pens, which I still covet. Later in the year, Birchbox sent me a sample of one of their Fat Lip pencils in Wolfman, which to this day I love. So I was very pleased to receive another product from their line. Liplubes a shiny, sheer lipsticks. Yves Rocher and your shame of a sheer lipstick, take note- this is how it’s done. The colour payoff is good, the formula is silky, not sticky, yet lovely and slightly shiny. I got the beautiful and flattering coral shade, called ‘Bees Knees’, and that’s exactly what it is. This colour and formula is great for summer. If you’re going to be doing a lot of eating and drinking, you’ll need to reapply all the time, because it is only a sheer lipstick, but for work or play, this product is lovely, and so easy to apply perfectly.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 09.41.08Just like their Fat Lip Pencils, the Lip Lube is a twist up, no sharpen lip crayon. Just outline your lips, then fill in the middle for perfect coverage. Oh, and the peppermint extract in the formula leaves you with a fresh, tingly, slightly lip plumping finish. If you haven’t guessed, I really, really like this product. I’ve used it loads. I’ve done a bit of rummaging, and I’m almost certain this is a full sized product. Super satisfied with this offering!

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This Whish Lavender body butter applies like a thick lotion rather than a traditional body butter, and I can appreciate that. It means it absorbs nice and quickly, and you aren’t left rubbing it in for twenty minutes, lest your bedsheets stick to you. And once it has absorbed, it sinks in really, really quick, with no greasy residue. The formula is full of organic, natural ingredients and skin kind goodies like Shea butter, raspberry butter, aloe, seaweed extract and rice bran oil. Whilst it’s a nice product, and I will use it up, it isn’t the best moisturiser I’ve ever tried, and, er, it doesn’t smell like lavender. I found this really confusing. If you daub a load on, you get the tiniest puff of lavender fragrance, but not nearly enough to call it a ‘Lavender’ product. It smells more like candy than anything else- really sweet and feminine.

image[4]This smells delicious: fruity and citrusy like an orange, and yet nothing like an orange, and kind of aromatic. Definitely a summer, bright fragrance- perfect for the season and box theme.

imageBefore this, I’d never tried any Vita Coco products, or coconut water in general. It’s super popular at the moment, and was a perfect, almost Paleo treat back when I was deep in the diet. It’s pretty low in sugar, with only 2% added fruit sugar to the 89% coconut water and 9% lemon puree. It’s pretty tasty- obviously not very sweet, and with that slight bitterness that coconut has an after taste. It’s really refreshing though, and a perfect size to pack for a summer packed lunch. I would buy this again, definitely.

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I have a really good relationship with my eye cream already, but this product was really very nice. Not too thick, more a lotion consistency, this product absorbs nicely with a very mild tingly sensation. If you have really super sensitive skin (I have sensitive skin, but I know people who are less resilient than I) this might not be for you. It has a pleasant bright scent, and promises 99% natural ingredients. There are too many herb, flower and nut oils to list them all, but a few choice ones that jump out are witch hazel, aloe, rosehip, jojoba, camomile, cucumber and carrot seed. I’ll definitely use this up. Whether I repurchase is another matter, because a) I have loads of eye cream to use and b) I’m not convinced I like it as much as others I’ve tried.

image[1]Yes.

YES.

Thank you, Birchbox. I LOVE this product. I’m sure I’ve recommended it to you before. Basically, if you see me wearing makeup, I’m wearing this product as my primer. This is the nation’s bestselling primer, and frankly, it’s because it works. It does exactly what it promises to- it reduces large pore, fine lines and imperfections, and blurs your skin to a beautiful matte ready to apply makeup more evenly over it, or it can be applied over makeup for the same effect or touch ups. It’s great for summer, when you get a bit glowy, as it can help tone that down to mild dewiness, or even matte perfection. I’ve literally just finished a bottle, and replaced it, so this spare has been donated to my lovely mum for her to use and love. This is such an excellent product, I was thrilled to get a spare.

I loved this Birchbox. There were no duff products, and loads of goodies I really rated. And as for value…

  • Laqa & Co Lip Lube in ‘Bees Knees: full size, £14
  • Whish Body Butter ‘Lavender’: the 150ml full sized product is £14.50, so this 22ml sample is worth £2.13
  • Weleda Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash: 200ml product goes for £7.95, so this 20ml sample is worth £0.76
  • Vita Coco Lemonade: £1.69 in most supermarkets
  • Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream: The full sized 15ml product is worth £20, so this 7ml sample is worth £9.33
  • Benefit Cosmetics The Porefessional Pro Balm: 22ml product is £24.50, so this 7.5ml sample is worth £8.35

Total: 36.26

This was a great haul, with excellent value for money. As for all Birchboxes, I paid £12.95 all in, which means the contents are worth nearly thrice what I paid. As you can tell from my gushing, I really liked this box all in all, with a good mix of brands I like and new products, all of which I will use up.

See you soon for the August box review!

Later days!

sigdraft

 

 

 

 

Special Delivery! April 2014 Birchbox Unboxing

Yay! It finally arrived! If you aren’t a regular reader, you might not know of the palava with getting this delivered, but I am trying to put that behind me. Let’s get on with the unboxing! This post will be very picture heavy. You have been warned!

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P1000613Birchbox have changed their shipping packaging since I last ordered. Now, instead of a box enveloping the box, it’s just a perfectly fitted and taped sheet of cardboard. Effective, and less packaging. I approve! The box itself looks just the same, with the natural coloured lid, and inside things were as expected too. On top of the reusable drawstring bag of goodies was a stack of cards. This month’s theme was Good Enough to Eat, so Birchbox had created a set of postcards with product info, tips and tricks and a recipe on the back, which you can see in the picture above. They also had their regular contents card and some other promotional material. All cute, but I’m not here for the postcards. I’m here for the samples!

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P1000617Inside the box this month were 5 beauty samples and the Lifestyle Extra, for a total of six items. Although the variety seemed really good, with plenty of cosmetics rather than loads of skin and haircare, the samples were pretty small. Still, let’s have a look at them one by one.

P1000619Face wipes are a make up user’s best friend. I also always keep a pack in my bag for emergency freshening up if I’m commuting or have a long day or journey. These Yesto Cucumbers wipes are a brand I’m not familiar with, but they look pretty good- 95% natural, with aloe and cucumbers which are cooling and skin kind. This pack of 10 is perfectly handbag sized, and is already in my handbag. Not what I was expecting in my box, but definitely useful.

P1000620I have only ever seen Colour Club nail polishes in Birchboxes for some reason, but I really like them. The last one I got is one of my favourite polishes.

This is not.

I like green a lot, but this colour is so drab in the bottle. And it’s pearlescent. I HATE pearl polishes. For me, it needs to be shimmery, glittery, or creme colour. Supposedly being pearly is on trend for this season… if so, then I will happily be off trend. And if I want to wear pastel green, I’ll wear OPI’s Gargantuan Green Grape.

To be fair, I swatched this product on a nail. It’s opaque in one coat, and completely dry in about ten minutes. It does look brighter out of the bottle than in, but it’s still pearly. Ew.

P1000623Spanish A Level, engage! This is ‘hydrating almond milk’ by Campos de Ibiza, a skin product. It smells lovely. The texture reminds me of old school suntan lotion, but it smells better and absorbs less greasily.

I’ll definitely try this and see how I get on. It’s very cooling, and I bet would feel great after a long hot day.

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P1000627I love the packaging of The Balm Cosmetics. It’s always on point. This sample from their new cheek and lip palette ‘How ’bout Them Apples?’ is no different. And hey there, Tasty Mr Pie. You can hang around on my blush products any day.

The packaging is magnetised and a great travel/handbag size. It’s a really melty creamy formula which goes on and blends perfectly. I love the colour and I’ve actually tried it on my cheeks and lips for a night out. It’s beautiful, and on the cheeks lasted all night, leaving me with a pretty flush. On the lips, eh, not so much. Not like a stain, anyway. But I really look forward to trying and using this more, and now I really want the palette!

This is definitely my star product from this box. It makes me want to put on a full fact of makeup so I can try it out again.

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I might be being picky, but this stub of a pencil looks really stingy. To be honest, there’s probably more product here than, for example, in the blush sample, but it looks so miserly!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m definitely up for trying eyeliner products, so this will get used. However, I’m not all that excited about it, looking at the swatches I did on my hand. The formula is very hard, so getting colour payoff took a lot of layering and pressing, which I don’t really want to do on my eyes! It’s definitely a subtle shade from what I can see rather than a bold colour, which might be great for me starting out. We shall see!

P1000630I can’t believe this packet is only 8g, but of course popcorn is very light. I pied this perfectly snack sized sample while I was pricing up the contents of the box, and this size is definitely the right size for a snack or lunchbox, so not a stingy sample by any means! It’s so tasty and smells awesome, and I’ll definitely be buying it IRL.

Ok, number crunching time. Just exactly how much did my £10 plus £2.95 shipping get me?

  • TheBalm Cosmetics How ‘Bout Them Apples Cheek and Lip cream: The full 20g palette is £26, this 0.57g sample is worth £0.74
  • Lord and Berry Couture Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil: The full sized pencil (4g) retails at £10, this sample (0.6g) is worth £1.50
  • Color Club Gala’s Gems Nail Polish: A set of four is £15, so this one pot is worth £3.75
  • Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes: A pack of 30 retails at £4.99!!! This sample (10) is worth £1.66
  • Campos De Ibiza Almond Body Milk: A full sized bottle (200ml) goes for £16.55, so this sample (38ml) is worth £3.14
  • Propercorn Sweet Coconut and Vanilla: A full sized 20g bag is £0.90, so the 8g sample is worth £0.36

Grand total: £11.15

I was pretty shocked at how low this was. I have never had a Birchbox skim so close to the mark on cost to the consumer before. This box is only worth £1.15 more than I paid for it, and a couple of quid under the full price of the box including shipping. That’s really, REALLY disappointing.

Having said that, apart from the nail polish, I like everything in the box, I would have paid a lot more for the sample sized cheek cream. Looking at other blogger’s boxes, because the contents do vary a little based on your preferences, I wonder if I would have gotten a different, more valuable box if it hadn’t been ‘lost’ by the courier and had to be replaced. Who can say? Either way, I will keep monitoring the box values going forward, because for me the value for money aspect is one of my favourite things about subscription boxes.

Roll on the May box!

sigdraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEDA: The Prettification Wishlist

Alternate title: My Birthday list.

The best thing about make up: ZOMG PRETTIES 😀 ❤

The worst thing about make up: ZOMG PRETTIES THAT I CAN NEVER AFFORD ;_; </3

This season, the big cosmetic companies are making me weep with longing about their new products (and some older ones I’ve been hankering for for AGES), particularly as so many of the new items have turned up the pigment content. This season is all about colour, it seems, and I am all about that.

1. Nails Inc Floral Collection

I love nail polish, if you hadn’t already twigged that. And I love Nails Inc- their product very rarely lets me down, and they are a British company. I do so like to shop local. Their SS14 mini collection this year hasn’t inspired me that much- looking nearly identical to the previous year’s offering. Pastel brights are in this year again, but some different tones might have been more fun. That being said, their new Floral collection of polishes is right on the mark. Perfect pastel spring time shades meet kitsch, adorable flowery glitters to give you an artsy manicure in seconds.

I love glitter and confetti polishes, particularly those that step beyond the basic dot shapes. The lovely little flowers and pollen like specks do this perfectly. The ‘glitter’ is also matte rather than, err, glittery, which is perfect for a daytime-y, sunshiny look. *squeal* I NEED this polish in my life. Don’t get me started on the adorable packaging either. Argh.

This collection is available in 5 shades from nude through to blues and pinks. Each shade is £12, so for the full set you are looking at a £60 spend. My tip, if you are thinking of this collection, is to go for Floral Street Mews and Richmond Gardens. The former is a blossomy pink with hint of turquoise, nude and blue. The latter is turquoise with hints of pastel pink and meadowy, limey green. Between the two of these, you will probably be able to match most spring time outfits, and for me, they are the prettiest shades.

2. Lime Crime Velvetines

Oh lord. I have wanted a velveteen or two since the launch of Red Velvet and Suedeberry back in the day. If I think too hard about Pink Velvet I get the ‘need’ shakes. The latest colours (The Clueless Witch Collection- basically dark red, black and brown) don’t set my heart aflutter as much, but that’s just me.

Now readily availiable in the UK via several online boutiques, I really don’t have much excuse for not snapping one of these beauties up ASAP. If you don’t know about Velvetines, let me lay it down for you. The formula applies like a lipgloss, sets matte like a matte finish lipstick and lasts like a lip stain. They are insanely pigmented and dry to a velvety, rose petal finish. They’re also Vegan and cruelty free.

When I do pull my finger out/find the cash (Approximately £11.50 each) for one of these, I will be going for the gorgeous Red Velvet and the pretty Pink Velvet. Red Velvet is a sexy classic pin up red on the cool side, and Pink Velvet is pretty much the same tone in pink- deeper and bluer than fuchsia.

HNGH.

3. Urban Decay Naked 3

This time last year, I was making the same noises about the Naked 2 palette. I needed a good nude palette for work and play, and this one was the real deal.

I’ve had my Naked 2 palette for nearly 9 months now, and I still use it every time I put on makeup. I love the shadows, particularly Half Baked and Chopper, though there are a few I simply don’t use, I love the big mirror and I love love LOVE the brush. And the primer potion and lipgloss it came with were nothing to sniff at.

Naked 3 had me making whale noises when I saw it in the shop. It’s everything I LOVE about Naked 2, but warmer and pinker. It’s like a hug for your eyes. The 12 shades are all brand new, with the same lovely mix of pearls, shimmers and mattes. They’ve thrown in another of those awesome brushes, plus 4 resealable samples of their range of primer potions (which are awesome, I must add).

Without owning it, the shades I am most excited about are Dust (a pretty shimmery light pink), Buzz (an antique rose pink and likely perfect contour for Dust) and Blackheart (an incredible warm black with floating, shimmery pink glimmers. It’s like bonfire smoke.)

Basically, come hell or high water, I WILL get this palette. Theres no reason not to. It is, for me, a better version of the Naked 2, and therefore perfect. It’s available for around £37 now- I’ve linked above to Debenhams simply because thats where I saw it in the flesh for the first time, and the UK Urban Decay website is SHOCKINGLY AWFUL.

4. Urban Decay Electric Palette or Sugar Pill Electro Cute Neon Pigments

I have bundled these two products together because they perform a similar function: they provide wild, super pigmented neon-bright colour for your eyes. Eee!

Urban Decay’s new Electric Palette gets me weak at the knees. The colours here are pressed pigments, not just ‘eyeshadows’. This means that have a rich, crazily high pigment load- the bright colours on the palette are what you will get on your face, and they won’t fade. Some of the shades are more brights than neons, and there’s even a glittery silver to add some robo-chic to your look. With an audaciously enormous mirror and double ended crease/blending brush, this has to be the palette of the summer.

My top shade picks from this palette are Thrash, a true neon lime/yellow with a touch of gold, Urban, a deep violet, Chaos, a true bold unapologetic blue, and Slowburn, a fiercely bright orangey red. Since this palette contains purn pigments, they should blend together easily into new shades, or so I hope. I look forward to being a neon peacock. At £38, it’s a fair price too.

If you want loose colour, and even more neon-ness, and from a guaranteed cruelty free company, look no further than the wonderful Sugar Pill Cosmetics. Their Electro Cute Neon Pigments look like coloured sugar, full of multifaceted sparkle, but with the same high pigment load and staying power of the other sugar pill products. They’re also Vegan.

The plus side of the loose powders is generally pot size (you will never run out) and ease of brush loading for mind-blowing colour from the first brush stroke. They do like primer or creme shadow to stick to though- the afore mentioned Primer Potion is a good call. The downside is the price. Each shade is $16 (approximately £9.50), or £10.95 with a UK stockist. For all five, you could pay nigh on £55, plus P&P. If this is a bit steep but you are interested, look out for Sugar Pill’s occasional sales, and bear in mind that international shipping from their site is free for purchases over $100. Going in with a friend, this is really easy to achieve.

My favourite Electro Cutes are Hellatronic, a nigh prussian shade of colour excellence, Love Buzz, because it’s piiiiiink, and Sparkage, because neon green is so fun, and green looks awesome with brown eyes, like mine.

 

5: OCC Colour Cosmetic Pencils

Ladies and Gentlemen, they’re vegan and cruelty free. They’re multi functional. They’re endorsed by my favourite Drag Diva, Willam Belli. The Colour Cosmetic Pencils match up with OCC lip tar shades perfectly, to provide the perfect line for the your tarred lips. They can also be used as eye popping eyeliners.

Anti-Feathered is a little different from the rest of the bunch, being clear. It acts as an invisible liner- perfect for use with any rich lip colour, as a lip balm/primer for lip colour wear, and can even be used as a primer for eye colour to keep in in place. This is my top pick of the lot for its extra versatility.

OCC is famous for its pure pigments and colour intensity, and they don’t skimp on these pencils. I can’t wait to get my paws on NSFW, a true rich red, Anime, a perky bright pink and Pool Boy, A luscious swimming-pool blue. If you’re looking for a more pedestrian eyeliner shade, there are several browns and tans, and a true black, but why not go wild with Grandma’s coral goodness, or Black Dahlia’s vampy plummy tones?

$16 (£9.50) on the official website and £11 via a UK stockist, these are my defining pick of the season. D’ya get it? Ha!

 

Which new products are you dying to smear all over your face?

 

sigdraft